In the night on 29-march I woke up at around 2:00 am due to the sound of heavy rain and lightning. Panels of the windows were also making huge noise as the strong wind was blowing. It made me feel that the flood has come to the place of my residence and thus looked out of the door but didn’t find much water on the street, thanks to drainage system which was working properly. Rain water was falling on car with such force that it removed minute dust even from the corners and thought great I do not need to clean it in the morning. The entire day I was doing follow-up regarding the situation of flood in Kashmir.. Continuous update of the flood through mobile phone about incessant rain in the region that happened again after a period of 6-7 months made me visualize the situation since the area is known to me and am aware of the place that I knew during the time spent in Kashmir for the construction of interim shelter. It was like physically present here and mentally and emotionally in Kashmir. Recalling talk with the local people about the last flood situation, was predicting similar kind of situation even at this time.
Coming back to sleep, somehow started associating the flood experience of the people to me and was thinking if the flood could have come to this place what could have happened . . . . . whether the house would have collapsed than realized that it was a framed structure and concrete has much resistance to water thus can withstand the force and can save us. I was trying to sleep but thought the place is a row housing and if neighbor’s building collapse, it might be a problem leading to the collapse of my house as well. This made me lose my sleep. At this moment collecting memories from the Kashmir that the guy had spoken, he had opened all doors and windows of the ground floor to reduce the pressure of water exerting on the building in order to prevent the building from collapse. Thing seems okay as one can save himself and his family by moving to the top floor or roof of house. Condition can further be deteriorated as the ripples created in water due to movement of fans of the helicopter distributing relief items can cause damage to the house this has also been experienced in the last flood.To overcome such issue either the building should be strong enough to withstand such force or relief materials should not be distributed using helicopter since, helicopters are the fastest means to provide immediate relief material and rescue of the people therefore, came to the point that building should be strong enough to withstand the force.
Again started recalling my conversation with the people affected by flood, some came downstairs to the flooded floor of the house to take their belongings. Here thought whether the person need to come downstairs as it had been flooded with dirty water than realized valuable items like jewelry or important documents can be taken out. At this point of time worried that the water may have many impurities, well cannot do anything for this. We also need to keep doors and windows open to reduce the pressure of water but we can avoid dead bodies of animals flowing in the water to enter inside the house by making iron grills in the windows now what about the doors ?
“If you want water not to turn out destructive, let it flow …. “ a beautiful statement from the talk on “Living with risk: cultural paradigms and resilience” by Dr. Anshu Sharma. Kashmir floods - why it could happen again. The idea presented in the presentation on 26-march made me search history of Kashmir and found that “Kashmir means desiccated land (dried - up). In Sanskrit ka means water and shimeera means desiccate”. In the ancient history and as per talk with the locals, it has been stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. The lake was drained by the great rishi Kashyapa by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varah-mulla). Therefore the chances are higher that flood will result again and adding to this railway track constructed in the middle of valley at such higher elevation which obstructs the path of water flowing out of one portion of the valley.
My thought for the house design is that the house should be such that it can withstand the various forces as mentioned and thus contributing toward resilience of the community.